Thomas Eric Duncan who was identified as the man who returned to the United States from Liberia and diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus has been in contact with 100 or more people, far more than first thought.
Initially, Texas health officials stated that Duncan had only been around 18 people, several of those being small children who attend four different schools but now, the number of leaped significantly. Authorities confirmed that all of the schools have been thoroughly sanitized.
According to Carrie Wilson, spokeswoman with the Department of State Health Services who released a statement, based on an abundance of caution a wide net is being cast. In addition to Duncan’s close family and friends, people he had only brief encounters with are also being included in the number count. Wilson went on to say that as the department focuses on people at the greatest risk, the number will likely decline.
Duncan who is from Liberia was first diagnosed earlier this week. After showing symptoms of the Ebola virus, he was admitted and placed in isolation at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Everyone who Duncan has come into contact with since returning to the United States September 19 is being monitored, to include medical personnel who transported him to the hospital via ambulance.
Reportedly, four or five members of Duncan’s family are currently under an official “control order” whereby they must remain in the home until October 19. Information as to the exact age of those people has not been divulged.
Amidst growing concern, Dr. David Lakey, Texas health commissioner addressed the control order saying that tried and true protocols to protect the public but also prevent the spread of the Ebola virus are being enforced. This gives officials the ability to monitor the situation more effectively.
According to authorities, symptoms of the Ebola virus include a fever higher than 100.5 degrees, nausea, headache, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. At this time, no one who has been in contact with Duncan, to include family members under the control order has shown any signs of being infected.
Prior to flying into Dallas-Fort Worth Airport on a United Airlines flight, Duncan stopped in Brussels and then Washington Dulles Airport. However, because he was not displaying any symptoms of being infected with the Ebola virus at the time of travel, passengers and flight crew are not at risk. It is only after symptoms appear that people could become infected.
Duncan who is currently listed in serious condition has not received the experimental Ebola virus drug, Zmapp. One concerned family member said the reason is that the drug maker has run out of inventory due to the rising number of people now infected.